Welcome back to part 2 of Immediate Impact Transfers. If you missed part 1, make sure to check it out here. This week, we profiled 3 more grad transfers that will have an instant impact on high-profile programs, including Louisville, Kansas, and Kentucky. Each of these teams has national title aspirations, so we might just see one of these players cutting down the nets in Atlanta this April.
From: Saint Joseph’s
After 84 games played for Saint Joseph’s, Lamarr Kimble entered the transfer portal this offseason. He signed with Louisville in April and will be a key contributor this season for a dangerous Cardinals team. Last year, Kimble averaged 15.6 PPG in 35.5 MPG in Phil Martelli’s final season at Saint Joe’s. He was second on the team in scoring, MPG, and FTA, and led the Hawks with 6 3PA per game. Although he can run the point, Kimble is a scoring guard that usually looks to create his own shot rather than playmaking for teammates. Last season, he scored 30+ points twice, dropping 31 points against UIC and West Virginia. Despite his consistent scoring last season, he often lacked efficiency on the offensive end. Over the course of the season, Kimble’s FG% was .397, with a 2P% of .490 and a 3P% of .292. As evident from these percentages, he is more effective at driving to the lane and scoring from the mid-range rather than from outside. Although some Kimble detractors point to his shooting percentages, he is a player that welcomes the criticism. Kimble was a 3-star recruit out of high school and has dealt with injuries throughout his collegiate career. However, he uses these situations as motivation and plays with a chip on his shoulder as a result. Louisville fans will love his effort on both ends of the floor, and the coaching staff will benefit from his 3-year experience as a captain at an A-10 school. This season, Kimble has a chance to win a starting position in Louisville’s backcourt. The Cardinals are led by star forward Jordan Nwora and brought in the #12 recruiting class in the nation this year. Each of these pieces point towards Louisville contending for a conference championship, even in a top-heavy ACC. If Kimble can lock down a starting guard spot and increase his assist and shooting percentages, he could be exactly the piece the Cardinals needed to solidify their roster.
Isaiah Moss decided to transfer from Iowa to Kansas for 2019-20 after 3 solid years for the Hawkeyes. On May 15, Moss stated his intentions to join new coach Eric Musselman at Arkansas, but later de-committed to join the Big 12 powerhouse in Lawrence. At Iowa, Moss started in 96 of his 102 games, including every appearance since the 2017-18 season. He complimented Iowa’s balanced attack with 9.2 PPG, shooting 42% from downtown. While Moss is not a lethal 3-point shooter, he is a threat from anywhere if he gets in rhythm or is left open. He scored at least 15 points in 15 of 34 games last season and drained 6 3-pointers in a game against Minnesota in January. Last season, 3-pointers accounted for only 28.6% of KU’s total points, which ranked #286 in the nation. This season, Moss has an opportunity to start for a loaded Kansas squad, or at least have a key role off the bench. He appears to be an ideal pair to rising star Devon Dotson, as Moss can spread the floor and provide an outlet on a Dotson drive-and-kick, or if he is double-teamed. Although Kansas is losing almost 20 PPG with Dedric Lawson’s departure, their core is one of the strongest in the nation. Moss will not have to be the engine for this offense, but he can bring veteran leadership and experience to this talented group. Kansas boasts two of the top 25 players in the nation. Senior Udoka Azubuike returns with Dotson, as well as redshirt sophomore Silvio De Sousa. Azubuike is back after last year’s season-ending injury, and De Sousa is eligible to play after last season’s suspension. Adding Moss to this core along with a top-15 recruiting class makes Kansas a legitimate championship contender this season. They currently have the 5th-best odds to win the National Championship at +1000 and are the odds-on favorites to take down another Big 12 title.
Kentucky bolstered their frontcourt depth by adding grad transfer Nate Sestina this offseason. Sestina appeared in exactly 100 games for Bucknell and started in all 31 games last year. The 6’9” Emporium, PA native averaged 15.8 PPG and 8.5 RPG last season for the Bison. His RPG average was almost 4 rebounds higher than any of his teammates, and he also led the team with 2 ORB per game. In 2019, he led the team among qualified players in usage rate, true shooting percentage (TS%), and PER. These statistics led to a place on the All-Patriot League 2nd Team and the All-Patriot Tournament 1st team. In 31 games last year, Sestina scored in double-figures 27 times, including 6 double-doubles. He shoots the ball well for a 6’9” forward, finishing his career at Bucknell with a 53.7% FG% and 36.4% 3P%. Although he may not have a starting role this season, Sestina is expected to be a strong contributor off the bench. Because of his size and shooting ability, he can stretch the floor and play down low in small-ball lineups. As a grad transfer, he is the oldest player on another young Calipari team. He made 2 NCAA Tournament appearances at Bucknell, which is valuable for a Wildcat team that lost three players to the NBA last season. Kentucky has landed a top-2 recruiting class every year since 2008, and this year’s class is no different. 3 five-star and two four-star recruits make up this class, headlined by Tyrese Maxey and Kahlil Whitney, ranked number 10 & 11 in the nation, respectively. EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards return from last year’s Elite Eight team and will likely start in the frontcourt. As usual, Kentucky will be a staple in the top half of the AP Poll this season. While Sestina will not elevate Kentucky’s chances on his own, he is a quality addition that can bring a spark as one of the first men off the bench and provide spot starts when needed. Kentucky is a lock to earn a high seed in March, and Vegas currently has them 8-1 to win their first title since 2012.